Nigel Short's allegations in DNA Sport

2/3/2007 – We have been taken to task by the Topalov web site for "falsely attributing statements to Nigel Short" about his observations during the world championship in San Luis. Really? In the five lines of text there was just one one minor technical detail to correct. The rest was quoted verbatim from the original source. Accusations, refutations, feedback.

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The Veselin Topalov web site has published the following report:

Nigel Short and false publications

Feb 3, 08:17 PM – A few days ago Chessbase published a doubtful material from the DNA online edition, where presumably Mr. Nigel Short intensifies the cheating accusations against Veselin Topalov. However, today a letter from Nigel Short arrived, completely changing the picture.

It turned out that the material published in DNA and republished by Chessbase has multiple mistakes. Even Silvio Danailov himself was surprised by the way the article was written and directly contacted Mr. Nigel Short to clarify the situation. Mr. Short replied this morning and explained that even though many of the quotations are correct, the interpretation is ridiculous. He also contacted directly Chessbase to “complain about falsely attributing” information to him. Here is the full text of the letter to Silvio Danailov kindly resent to the editing team by Zhivko Ginchev.

Dear Silvio,

Thank you for your e-mail. The statements attributed to me in quotation marks in the original DNA article in India are entirely accurate. However I am not responsible for the commentary and interpretation of those statements in that newspaper, which were done by the journalist, Vijay Tagore. If you check the original article you will see that I did NOT say that I observed “something sinister in San Luis”. This was Mr Tagore’s interpretation of my comment that I was struck by how close you were sitting to Veselin. I did not say that you signalled to him or that I personally observed anything untoward. My comment merely was intended to demonstrate that, had you wanted to signal, it would have been remarkably easy – which is very far from saying that you did such a thing. I might add that I telephoned Frederic Freidel last night to complain about falsely attributing the “something sinister in San Luis” quote to me. The quotation marks were removed in the chessbase report after that phone call. I had earlier telephoned Chessbase to complain about falsely attributing the “It is possible that Topalov cheated” remark to me on the German webpage. That was the heading of the DNA piece, and they were not my words.

Best regards,


The ChessBase report quoted by the Topalov web site consisted entirely of excerpts from articles that had appeared in the international press. In the seven stories we quoted – all the relevant ones we could find at the time – nothing was changed, everything was given verbatim, as published in the original sources. Even orthographic or factual errors were left unchanged (with one exception: we were unable to resist changing the reference in the India Times story from "world's top rated Belgian" to "world's top rated Bulgarian").

The only passage written by us was the "teaser" on the main page, which is used to summarize the contents of the report in five lines. In these five lines there was one sentence that may not have been technically correct. In its original form it said:

Nigel Short, who was in San Luis, said he "observed something sinister in San Luis."

Nigel called us an hour or so after publication and informed us that he had not actually said those words. In the article that appeared in the DNASport report the relevant passage reads, verbatim:

The British GM says he observed something sinister in San Luis,...

i.e. without quotes. At Nigel's behest we removed them in the teaser and modified it to "Nigel Short, who was in San Luis, observed something sinister in San Luis," which is what the Indian journalist who spoke with Nigel claimed he had said. Remember, we were not reporting on Nigel's views on the subject. We were reporting that DNASport had published an interview with Nigel Short, and a summary of what he had said in this interview. Nigel denies that he said "something sinister", as the Indian journalist claims.

Incidentally the header of the teaser on the German site was (literally) "Nigel Short: 'Veselin Topalov could have been cheating', which came from the original headline of the DNASport story: "Short take: Veselin Topalov could have been cheating". For those of you who don't get it: "Short take" is probably a pun and means "in summary". When Nigel informed our German editor about this subtlety of the English language he changed the headline to "DNA: 'Veselin Topalov could have been cheating', although that is not completely in the spirit of the article. Reread the interview and judge for yourself.

We do not want to drag this out until our readers pass out from boredom, but Nigel called again to draw our attention to the fact that the Veselin Topalov web site did not contain "the full text of the letter", as stated in the introduction. He says that the following paragraph from his letter to Danailov had been omitted:

I stand by my remarks about wanting an inquiry. As you are doubtless aware, the chorus of suspicion about the alleged signaling between you and Veselin is very loud indeed and comes from many different quarters. Indeed in my 24 years as a chess professional, I have never heard anything like it before. The allegations are of a very serious nature and it is important, for the sake of chess, that the truth is learned. As you do not have anything to be concerned about, you should welcome this proposal.

Feedback from our readers

Naturally we have received a number of letters from our readers as well, which we bring you in roughly chronological order. We have omitted no substantial letter, except a few that were gratuitously rude or were simply duplicates sent under different names. Before giving you the letters we would like to, once again, briefly iterate how our news service works.

We publish stories that we deem interesting and newsworthy. When very severe accusations of cheating were raised by Silvio Danailov against Vladimir Kramnik during the world championship match in Elista, we published them, whether we personally felt that they were justified or not. Since Silvio is Topalov's manager, and FIDE took measures to investigate the claims, the story had to be made public.

In the most recent case one of Germany's largest and most reputable newspapers published a chess story, written by a well-known mainstream journalist who gave an eye-witness account of what he thought was suspicious behaviour by Danailov during the Wijk aan Zee tournament. It would be extravagant to suggest that we should willfully suppress such a story and not mention it in our news service. It is for our readers to decide whether it – the story published in the Süddeutsche Zeitung – is worthy of serious consideration, whether it may be some kind of a conspiracy or an attempt at defamation, or anything else. Naturally it shouldn't be hidden from them.

We would like to add one more note: during our stay in Wijk aan Zee we kept a sharp look-out for any signs of signaling by Silvio Danailov or Topalov's second Ivan Cheparinov, during rounds six, seven and eight. We can state with a fair degree of certainty that no signaling took place. Danailov and Cheparinov were mostly in the press center, and when they were not there we did not spot them in the playing hall. We could have mentioned this as an editorial comment to our report on the article that appeared in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, but then we would also have had to mention that a number of people claimed to have seen signaling in earlier rounds (thus corroborating the story in the Süddeutsche). Neither observation is conclusive, one way or the other, and so we abstained from editorial comment.

Frederic Friedel

Greg Koster, Chicago, USA
Topnailov had to know they would be watched, yet they acted in an obviously suspicious fashion. This may be an elaborate disguise for their use of a more efficient cheating system. Chess authorities will eliminate the "signaling" method, but Topnailov will continue using their "real" method, probably based on radio-communication. The Chessbase News photos in the runup to Elista showed a remarkably confident Kramnik, and a deer-in-the-headlights Topalov. I'm guessing that both men "knew" that the late-agreed use of radio-jamming equipment would turn Elista into a match between a 2800 and a 2700. By game four, Kramnik had achieved wins in Games One and Two and a winning position in Game Four. Topnailov trotted out the last-ditch "restroom attack" to distract Kramnik and it nearly succeeded.

Andrej Krivda, Wettingen, Switzerland
Introducing one-way mirror/glass between the players and audience would be a sensible option to prevent any hand/gestures signaling from the audience.

Bruce Mubayiwa, South Africa
I have just read the article talking about possible cheating by Topalov. I am a great fan of Topalov's enterprising and attacking style. He reminds me of the late former world champion Mikhail Tal and even of his predecessor, the great Garry Kasparov. This kind of news (about possible cheating) is never good for any sport. Even if someone is innocent, a cloud hangs over their head for a long time if not their entire career. In the women's tennis semi-finals of the just-ended Australian Open there were accusations that Serena Williams might have tried to influence the outcome of the match through an outside party who was reflecting the sun's light off his watch onto the court. Luckily Serena was so dominant in the finals victory over Sharapova that the story about the spectator in the crowd will be quickly forgotten. In any case the authorities pledged to investigate but now that the women's finals have already been played, what verdict could they reach and what would be the implications in a worst case scenario.Serena's opponent during the semi-final had not observed anything unusual. Such stories do not enhance legacies but may in fact destroy destroy them and do great damage to a sport. As a long time fan of the game of chess I can only hope that allegations of cheating will be a thing of the past but in this day and age, of the internet, cellphones and other technology, cheating is a possibility which cannot be ignored. Any smoke must be investigated to make sure there is no fire.

Stoimen Bardarov, Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria
Few days ago one of your employees was curious why Veselin Topalov wasn't very eager to communicate with the ChessBase team. Such publication, which are letting in the regular reader of your chess news site think that Vesko indeed uses some help, are unacceptable for any earnest publisher. I can understand it, if you get paid from someone for this publication, but to breath on the ex-world champion of chess, and the first in the FIDE rating list just to make "news" is something, that the regular reader of is considering as inimcial action. Mr. Topalov is not just the strongest player of our time, but also very sensitive person. Why don't you take in mind, that such publications are realy harming him? P.S. I know this message will never see the "white world" of your site, but please at lest think twice next time, before you release such "news". The plase for such articles is in the yellow papers.

Yannick Roy, Montréal, Canada
Every patzer’s dream has come true; thanks to a very sophisticated device called the ESP electronic receiver, invented by soviet scientists during the cold war and easily available today on eBay (where it is often sold by former KGB agents) it is now possible to read into the mind of people within a certain range, and notably for chess lovers to understand the thought process of the best players while they are playing. Here is the result obtained on Veselin Topalov during his loss against Svidler in round 11. The annotations are actual thoughts that went through his mind! Enjoy and learn.

Svidler,P (2728) - Topalov,V (2783) [B90]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.Qd2 Nbd7 9.0–0–0 Be7 10.f3 h5 11.Kb1 Qc7 12.Bd3 b5 13.Bg5 Nb6 14.f4 Rb8 Pulling the ear. 15.Rhe1 Nc4 16.Bxc4 bxc4 Scratching the head. 17.Nc1 Qb7 18.b3 exf4 19.Bxf4 0–0 20.Bxd6 Thumb in mouth. 20... Bxd6 21.Qxd6 Rfc8 22.Nd5 Nxd5 23.exd5 Bf5 24.Rd2 Bg6 25.Re7 Qb5 26.Rc7 27.Rxc8+ Rxc8 28.Re2 cxb3 29.axb3 Qc3 30.Qg3 Bxc2+ 31.Ka2 Glasses on. Bb1+? Ooops. Glasses off? 32.Kxb1 Qxc1+ 33.Ka2 That phone call is taking a long time. Rc5? Ah, he’s back. 34.Qb8+ Kh7 35.Qb4 And where is he now? 35...f5? 36.Qd2 Qxd2+ Sylvio? Don’t leave me out in the cold, here. 37.Rxd2 Kg6 38.b4 Rc8 39.Kb3 Kf7 40.Ra2 Ra8 41.h4 Ah, back again. So, am I still winning? Glasses off, BUT legs crossed, AND scratching the nose??!! f4? 42.Re2 Kf6 43.Kc4 Rc8+ 44.Kd4 Rb8 45.d6 Rxb4+ 46.Kc5 Rb1 47.Rd2 Rb8 Standing there and pulling his hair: I know what that means. 48.d7 1–0

Jonathan Rowson, London, UK
I am disappointed that Chessbase decided to publish the English translation of Brentigam's article. I felt the behaviour of Topalov and Danailov in the WCC match with Kramnik was outrageous, but this sort of article does nothing to ease whatever damage was done. As far as I could make out from Brentigam's observations, there was a lot of selective circumstantial observations about Danailov's movements, but nothing even approaching concrete evidence.

You can never be absolutely certain, but personally I don't think either Topalov or Kramnik has cheated. They are both outstanding players capable of consistently precise play, which is clear in general, and all the more so to anybody who watches their post-game analysis on the videos. Anybody who cares about chess should be very careful about stirring the cauldron of suspicion with anything less than concrete evidence. Chessbase has a responsiblity not to publish every suggestion/accusation of cheating, especially when they are so baseless and inflammatory.

Andrei Vrabtchev, USA
This is ridiculous and should not be published unless any serious proof is found. You have been maligning Topalov ever since Elista, and seems this is due to bias. It's not surprising that Topalov does not want to speak with you - I wouldn't either. Reputation is very hard to build, and very easy to destroy with unsupported articles like this. Please stop this, as more and more chess fans will stop reading your web page - you are denigrating yourselves to the level of a yellow press newspaper.

Bernd Schuller, Jülich, Germany
If it is true that "over the past year and a quarter (since the World Championship in San Luis) [you] have received a number of letters and articles on the same subject, mainly from players and grandmasters", it would be your duty to publish a sort of "summary" of these letters, even if not citing the sources. If Topalov/Danailov have really cheated, it is a MUST to make it public. It is as if the Tour de France winner is found to have been doped. All this is truly sad, and a shame to professional chess. I do hope the accusations are not true...

Peter Stokes, Philadelphia
During the Kramnik-Topalov match, Danailov suggested that Kramnik was cheating. He had only very flimsy evidence for this very serious, insulting charge. Presumably he went public with his scurrilous accusation largely out of gamesmanship, since his client was well behind in the match at the time.

Now Chessbase translates and disseminates, with no editorial criticism whatsoever, a similarly serious and insulting charge, with a similar complete lack of convincing evidence, this time against Topalov. The only difference between Danailov and Chessbase in these two cases is that it's easier to understand what motive Danailov might have had to drag our great game into the mud. Shame on you.

Julio Mendoza-Medina, Kentucky, USA
Very sad and regrettable that strong "high level" players in the chess world rise suspicions of cheating during very prestigious tournaments like Corus. Metal detectors or other forms of control may work well, but let organizers know that NOT allowing people in, like seconds or managers or anyoneelse for that matter, the playing hall may work as well. Yeah, procedures or simple rules like: "Only players are allowed in the playing hall." Spectators will have to go to the TV screens room. Photographers will have their usual 5 minute share before the official starting of the games. Even so, organizers may have to consider the scenario of detecting wireless signals, just to make sure in case the "cheating devices" are not metallic. Honesty of the players themselves plays a huge role here. Imagine going into something like in airports just to sit to play a game of chess. Unbelievable how could a chess player make a fool out of himself/herself. I wouldn't do it even for millions.

Frank Dixon, Kingston, Canada
Thank you for running this important story in such a timely fashion. It seems there could be something suspicious going on here. My view to an easy solution is to register the manager as part of a player's entourage, as in golf. Professional golfers use a caddy to carry the clubs during competitive play, with whom they are allowed to consult, according to the rules, but they cannot consult with anyone else on strategy during a round, upon penalty of disqualification. Caddies are registered to players. The standard of rules compliance in golf is excellent; there are very rarely any cheating scandals or accusations, unlike in chess. During a tournament chess game, a manager should be registered to his player. A rule could be adopted that a player may only have one member of his entourage present within a certain area of the playing hall, that member must be registered, and that the entourage member cannot use his telephone or communicate with !
anyone else during the game. The entourage member has to be forbidden from close visual contact with his player.

In this case, it should be very simple to do an investigation of this Danailov, by checking his cellphone records. I am sure that in the Netherlands, these records would be easy to obtain. If Danailov is calling the same number 20 times during a game, then he has to provide an explanation of this, as there can be none that is reasonable other than some form of cheating is going on. Find the cellphone on the other end.

James Hankins, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA
Danailov appears to have single-handedly tarnished chess more in the last year than anyone (which is quite an accomplishment). Even if the allegations that he signaled Topalov are unfounded, it was his accusations against Kramnik that have dragged chess into the sewer. Now, there is going to be a cloud over every major tournament, players and managers will be tense and under pressure from scrutiny at every moment, and the fans will wonder who is really the best player. It's sad.

Charles Hall, Orlando FL, USA
This is both a serious, and probably silly allegation. We've had enough of our top players being drug through the sewage, it's time we stopped printing news reports like this until there is independent verification and official confirmation.

Paul J. German, Mexico City
I found quite unpleasant your article entitled "Danailov accused of signalling Topalov" whether this or not be true, you have not supported any evidences to support this, therefore publishing
this kind of 'news' contributes nothing to chess or peace among players, not to say of the irresponsability in quoting an article of another newspaper. Where is the responsability and love for the truth characteristic of the German culture? What kind of joke is this: "we only reported that a major newspaper had published a big (and potentially scandalous) chess story, a fact that we deemed newsworthy." Is Chessbase a gossip website now? I might deem newsworthy to say that Chessbase is siding with Kramnik after all your irresponsible behaviour. Please let chessplayers resolve their differences and you concentrate on bringing the news, not the gossips.

Dek Stump, New York, NY USA
I am dismayed by the actions of Chessbase in the matter of reporting the accusations against Veselin Topalov by Breutigam. I'm sure the Chessbase staff are aware that the writer of the article, the international master Martin Breutigam, is an associate of Kramnik's manager, Carsten Hensel, but made absolutely no mention of this fact. Did you think that it was not important? Since there is no solid proof whatsoever, Chessbase comes off looking like the sensationalist press (Elvis spotted in a green cloud over New York City!) at best and extremely biased at worst. Chessbase, not Topalov, comes out of this with their reputation damaged.

That Martin Breutigam is an "associate" of Carsten Hensel was claimed in a later article in the Guardian, and then retracted after Breutigam formally stated that this was not the case. We certainly did not have independent knowledge of any association between the two. – Ed.

Rajesh, V, Seattle WA
While this new accusation makes for interesting reading, I'm not sure such tactics would really be of any help for anyone, leave alone super-GMs, wishing to get outside help. Topalov has for a long time been a very strong GM, though not necessarily within the top three until recently. For such top GMs, to look for such outside help would actually be counter-productive, by way of losing focus in their own calculations. And there could be five (or more) different continuations that may be appropriate at any given position and to be able to signal and receive the exact move that is being suggested from outside is not very straightforward. If someone is actually able to set such extensive coding system with an outside partner, they deserve a Super Mega Master title in criminology. However, having played dirty tricks on Kramnik, they really can't complain, particularly if the reporting of all those strange behaviour from Danailov are undisputed.

Ellery Bann, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Because Topalov himself was being aided by Fritz, reason dictates that only Fritz could beat Fritz because a human would either draw or lose but not win.

Charles Hall, Orlando, FL, USA
On the cheating thing - very interesting take, but I think, still, a little far fetched. It's a very serious accusation, going straight to one's reputation, which is all one leaves when he dies and is all anyone ever knows of a person they never meet. Since Elista, it has been clear to me that the managers, once game one has begun, should have no further rights than a spectator. I suppose they could be part of the "team" but should neither team nor manager should be allowed in the rest area (or the loo) but should watch on an electronic board set up in a different room for that purpose.

Mike Archer, Golden, Colorado USA
The bloom is off the rose and the hand-writing is on the wall, folks. Computers will be the death of the Royal Game and probably sooner, not later.

Yassen, Canada
What is happening is really, really sad. I dont know what to comment - there was something sinister in San Luis, according to Nigel Short (who was the same guy that believed he was playing Fischer online a couple of years back) and this is a serious reason to start a committee to investigate Topalov. Silvio Danailov touches the right side of his lips with his left (or was it right??) finger and this definitely must mean that the knight (or was it the bishop) should move and he is signalling Topalov. And yet network cables in the ceiling of Kramnik's washroom will mean nothing more than Topalov trying to pressure psychologically Kramnik and raise false suspicions. At the end of the day, no matter what is said, the chess world is biased against the Bulgarian player (who mind you, was accused of winning San Luis also because he didn't change the place where he was sitting during most of the tournament too - I wonder what other accusations will surface in the next year or two) and so is your site, which stood by Kramnik during the world championship match (you can say I am biased too, though - I must make it clear in my feedback that I am Bulgarian - I guess then some people can simply try to attribute my arguments to having my national pride hurt). Chess does mean a lot to Russia and whether there was cheating or not I don't know and probably nobody will know - but following on those new ridiculous allegations against Topalov and refusing to follow up on others against Kramnik and ask questions is just a sign that there is strong bias in the chess community. Your site definitely didn't create it but helped and promoted it with the way it covered the chess events.

Tom Welsh, Basingstoke, UK
The idea that Topalov has found a practical way to profit from cheating might be plausible. Why did he suddenly become primus inter pares, cutting a swathe through the world's elite at San Luis? On the other hand, one should allow for emotional factors. Many of us dislike Topalov and Danailov for their arrogance (remember when Topalov said Kramnik was not good enough to play him?) and their nasty tactics in the world champhionship match. That's no reason to condemn them without proof. Moreover, Topalov was able to trade blow for blow with Kasparov years ago, although Kasparov usually won in the end. Lastly, if he only gets a few computer moves per game, how can we explain that he almost always coordinates his pieces so well that he is ideally placed for attack or defence? Perhaps it would be reasonable to ensure that, for a few months, no one comes close enough to communicate in the way suggested. Then see if Topalov's results suffer a sharp decline?

Graeme Cree, Austin, TX
Your International News from Belgrade deserves some kind of special award for bad translation. Where it quotes Danailov as saying that FIDE has taken us back to the days of SATANnism. Well, that may be true also, but what Danailov actually said was STALINism. The rest of the translation seems similarly mangled. It first says that a Topalov-Kramnik rematch has been arranged, and that Danialov is upset about this. Whatever for? Well, it then goes on to say that FIDE WON'T give Topalov a rematch (after just saying that they would), then shifts gears again and has Danailov saying "we are allowed to take part in... Mexico", where it should say we are NOT allowed. It then says KRAMNIK (not Topalov) is the one that's actually guaranteed a rematch. "We are not afraid because everything was done according to the law," FIDE's President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov replied. According to the law, maybe, but definitely not according to Berlitz.

Again: the translation was not by us but by the news service International News Bulgaria, from whom we quoted exerpts verbatim. A link to the full article was given. – Ed.

Duncan Vella, Swieqi, Malta
Wow, I wonder whether this is getting interesting or else paranoic. I am surprised by Nigel's allegations. Wasn't Nigel the "lucky charm" GM who was "constrained" to eat at Topalov's table for good luck? I feel that these cheating allegations are getting out of hand. Maybe we have to go back to Fischer's days and lock the players in a back room. I have a suggestion to the organisers. Why not surround the playing environment with glass that is see-through from only one side. Thus the audience can view what is happening, but the players cannot see anyone else? It also helps the players concentrate more with less distractions. Trainers, managers, friends etc. etc. are not allowed to make contact with the players at any time.

Ted Teodoro, River Edge, New Jersey
An allegation of cheating is something better not left to fester. The accused should be the party most interested in pursuing this matter. Danilov and Topalov - two names that do not conjure up an image of fair play - should push for a name-clearing investigation unless they expect a different outcome.

Martin Negri, Buenos Aires, Argentina
While Nigel Short was in San Luis, we wrote the "Championship Diary". During all the championship he had lunch with Topalov's team because it appears to the team that Nigel provides "good luck" to Topalov. He accepted and seems that also enjoyed very much the company of Topalov and all the team. He made many references and jokes during all the Diary. What happened now? It looks very hyprocrite from Nigel Short, don't you think? Here one example of the N. Short comments during San Luis (extracted from Chess Base web page): "As Topalov’s talisman I am dragged off for some food. My accidental presence at the Bulgarian’s table has been deemed to be good luck since his victory on the first day and so, in fealty, I have now no choice but to fulfill my obligations and stay with him. For the last week I have also been invited to dine with some rather attractive female translators, but regretfully I keep having to turn them down. I am secretly starting to hope that Toppy will lose. Oops, I am not allowed to think that am I? I am partly consoled by the regal treatment I receive with the winning Bulgarian team. I somehow feel part of the success, even though I know it is not really true."

Frits Fritschy, Leiden, The Netherlands

From Nigel Shorts reports on the San Luis tournament.

Round 5: "I am dining with Veselin Topalov and his entourage of Silvio Danailov (manager) and Ivan Cheparinov (second) again, as indeed I have done all the playing days so far. On day two, Veselin, a touch superstitiously perhaps, determined that I was a lucky talisman, and that henceforth I will have to eat with him prior to the commencement of the rounds – presumably until he suffers a defeat. Fortunately this is no great burden for me as I am quite glad of the company. Cheekily I suggest that he pays me for my services, which elicits a smile."

Round 6: "One unspecified player has officially protested that Veselin Topalov is always playing at the same table whereas the other poor souls are rotating places. Apparently, according to the accuser, this confers a great advantage on the Bulgarian. I had assumed that Toppy’s excellent score had more to do with the moves he was making on the board, but this merely showed my great naivety. Neither the arbiters nor the other participants, however, seem too impressed with the protest, and it is quietly dismissed."

Round 7. "I should begin with a correction: I mentioned yesterday that there had been an official protest about the fact that Topalov has thus far always played on the same table. As he is number eight in the draw, there is nothing the least bit unusual about this, by the way. Apparently an official protest requires the deposit of $500, refundable in the event of winning the case. This has not been forthcoming as of yet. Therefore it would be more accurate to term the continuing protests 'unofficial'. Apologies for inadvertently misleading anyone."

Round 11: "As Topalov’s talisman I am dragged off for some food. My accidental presence at the Bulgarian’s table has been deemed to be good luck since his victory on the first day and so, in fealty, I have now no choice but to fulfill my obligations and stay with him. […] I am partly consoled by the regal treatment I receive with the winning Bulgarian team. I somehow feel part of the success, even though I know it is not really true."

Round 13: "For twelve long days the team of Veselin Topalov and its talisman – yours truly – has taken its place on a table in the corner of the dining room before each game. […] He has outclassed everyone here and has deserved his success. Congratulations!"

Now he is taking a different view: "The essence of these allegations, which I heard personally from disgruntled players in Argentina at the time, was not that Topalov constantly received computer advice but only at critical junctures." The British GM says he observed something sinister in San Luis. "In San Luis I did observe, indeed I was quite struck by the fact, that Danailov sat in close physical proximity to Topalov during play. Furthermore, his not infrequent entering and exiting the hall would have provided facile opportunities for receiving communication from a third party." Short terms the toiletgate charges against Vladimir Kramnik a diversionary tactic.

To me this gives the impression that Mr Short now thinks he has been in contact with something dirty and tries to wash off the smell before anyone notices. I don't think TV recordings from San Luis can make things any clearer. As far as I know, no participant in the San Luis tournament made an official complaint against Topalovs or Danailovs behaviour. They should have done so then, not afterwards in the press.

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